|An Ancient Monument to the Soul|
“for my soul that is in this stele.”
“I, Kuttamuwa, servant of [the king] Panamuwa, am the one who oversaw the production of this stele for myself while still living. I placed it in an eternal chamber [?] and established a feast at this chamber: a bull for [the god] Hadad, a ram for [the god] Shamash and a ram for my soul that is in this stele.”
In addition to the writing, a pictorial scene chiseled into the well-preserved stele depicts the culture’s view of the afterlife. A bearded man wearing a tasseled cap, presumably Kuttamuwa, raises a cup of wine and sits before a table laden with food, bread and roast duck in a stone bowl. In ancient Egypt, Dr. Wegner noted, the human entity has separate components. The body is important, and the elite went to great expense to mummify and entomb it for eternity. In death, though, a life force or spirit known as 'ka' was immortal, and a soul known as 'ba', which was linked to personal attributes, fled the body after death.
|Ancient city Sam’al that excavated|
Soul in Philosophy:
In Ancient, Greek philosophers used the word "alive" for the concept of being "ensouled", ie. they consider that the soul gives the body to life. To them, the soul incorporeal or spiritual "breath"s that animates the living organism.
According to Pindar, the soul sleeps while the limbs are active, but when one is sleeping, the soul is active and reveals "an award of joy or sorrow drawing near" in dreams.-[Francis M. Cornford, Greek Religious Thought, p. 64]
Erwin Rohde says the Pre-Pythagorean belief was that the soul alive a body and is lifeless when it departed the body, and that departed, retired into Hades with no hope of returning to a body..[Erwin Rohde, Psyche, 1928]
According to Plato and Socrates, the essence of a person is his psyche as it decides ones behavior. This essence to be an incorporeal, eternal occupant of human being. Socrates says that even after death, the soul exists and is able to think. but he believed after death, the soul is continually reborn in subsequent bodies. The Platonic soul consists-
a). The Logos, (Mind, Nous, or Reason): Logos is located in the head, is related to reason and regulates the other part.
b). The Thymos, (Emotion, Spiritedness, or Masculine): Thymos is located near the chest region and is related to anger.
c). The Eros, (Appetitive, Desire, or Feminine): Eros is located in the stomach and is related to one's desires.
Plato states that the three-part soul is essentially the same thing as a state's class system, because, to function well, each part must contribute so that the whole functions well. Logos keeps the other functions of the soul regulated.-[Jones, David (2009). The Gift of Logos: Essays in Continental Philosophy]
According to Aristotle (384– 322 BCE), the soul, acts as the "first actuality" of a naturally organized body, [Aristotle, On The Soul. pp. 412b5] and argued against its separate existence from the physical body. He says that the primary activity, or full actualization, of a living thing constitutes its soul. For example, the full actualization of an eye, as an independent organism, is to see (its purpose or final cause).-[Aristotle. Physics, Book-8, Chapter-5. pp. 256a 5–22] Another example is that the full actualization of a human being would be living a fully functional human life in accordance with reason (which he considered to be a faculty unique to humanity).-[Aristotle. Nicomachean Ethics, Book- I, Chapter 7. pp. 1098a 7–17]
For Aristotle, the soul is the organization of the form and matter of a natural being which allows it to strive for its full actualization.This organization between form and matter is necessary for any activity, or functionality, to be possible in a natural being. Using an artifact (non-natural being) as an example, a house is a building for human habituation, but for a house to be actualized requires the material (wood, nails, bricks, etc.) necessary for its actuality (i.e. being a fully functional house). However, this does not imply that a house has a soul. In regards to artifacts, the source of motion that is required for their full actualization is outside of themselves (for example, a builder builds a house). In natural beings, this source of motion is contained within the being itself.-[Aristotle. Physics, Book III, Chapter 1. pp. 201a10–25] Aristotle elaborates on this point when he addresses the faculties of the soul.
The various faculties of the soul, such as nutrition, movement (peculiar to animals), reason (peculiar to humans), sensation (special, common, and incidental) and so forth, when exercised, constitute the "second" actuality, or fulfillment, of the capacity to be alive. For example, someone who falls asleep, as opposed to someone who falls dead, can wake up and live their life, while the latter can no longer do so.
Aristotle identified three hierarchical levels of natural beings: plants, animals, and human. For these groups, he identified three corresponding levels of soul, or biological activity: the nutritive activity of growth, sustenance and reproduction which all life shares; the self-willed motive activity and sensory faculties, which only animals and people have in common; and finally "reason", of which human alone are capable.
Aristotle's discussion of the soul is in his work, De Anima (On the Soul). Although mostly seen as opposing Plato in regard to the immortality of the soul. Aristotle in his "On The Soul" argues that soul as a whole can be deemed mortal and a part called "active intellect" or "active mind" is immortal and eternal.-[Aristotle. On The Soul, Book III, Chapter 5. pp. 430a24–5] Though there are controversies, yet it has been understood that there will be permanent disagreement about its final conclusions, as no other Aristotelian text contains this specific point, and this part of De Anima is obscure.-[Shields, Christopher (2011). "Aristotle's Psychology"]
Following Aristotle, Avicenna (ibn Sina) and ibn al-Nafis, further elaborated upon the Aristotelian understanding of the soul and developed their own theories on the soul. They both made a distinction between the soul and the spirit, and the Avicennian doctrine on the nature of the soul was influential among the Scholastics. Some of Avicenna's views on the soul include the idea that the immortality of the soul is a consequence of its nature, and not a purpose for it to fulfill. In his theory of "The Ten Intellects", he viewed the human soul as the tenth and final intellect.
Avicenna demonstrate human self-awareness and the substantial nature of the soul. If one isolated him through imagination from all sensations, which includes no sensory contact with even their own bodies, then one would still have self-consciousness. He thus concludes that the idea of the self is not logically dependent on any physical thing, and that the soul should not be seen in relative terms, but as a primary given, a substance. This argument was later refined and simplified by René Descartes in epistemic terms, when he stated: "I can abstract from the supposition of all external things, but not from the supposition of my own consciousness."-[Seyyed Hossein Nasr and Oliver Leaman (1996), History of Islamic Philosophy, p. 315]
Avicenna generally supported Aristotle's idea of the soul originating from the heart, whereas Ibn al-Nafis rejected this idea and instead argued that the soul "is related to the entirety and not to one or a few organs". He further criticized Aristotle's idea whereby every unique soul requires the existence of a unique source, in this case the heart. al-Nafis concluded that "the soul is related primarily neither to the spirit nor to any organ, but rather to the entire matter whose temperament is prepared to receive that soul," and he defined the soul as nothing other than "what a human indicates by saying "I".-[Nahyan A. G. Fancy (2006), "Pulmonary Transit and Bodily Resurrection: The Interaction of Medicine, Philosophy and Religion in the Works of Ibn al-Nafīs (d. 1288)", p. 209-210]
Following Aristotle and Avicenna, Thomas Aquinas (CE 1225–74) understood the soul to be the first actuality of the living body. Consequent to this, he distinguished three orders of life: plants, which feed and grow; animals, which add sensation to the operations of plants; and humans, which add intellect to the operations of animals. Concerning the human soul, his epistemological theory required that, since the knower becomes what he knows, the soul is definitely not corporeal—if it is corporeal when it knows what some corporeal thing is, that thing would come to be within it.-[Aquinas, Thomas. "Quaestiones Disputatae de Veritate]
Therefore, the soul has an operation which does not rely on a body organ, and therefore the soul can exist without a body. Furthermore, since the rational soul of human beings is a subsistent form and not something made of matter and form, it cannot be destroyed in any natural process.-[Aquinas, Thomas. "Super Boetium De Trinitate"]
In his discussions of rational psychology, Immanuel Kant (CE1724–1804) identified the soul as the "I" in the strictest sense, and that the existence of inner experience can neither be proved nor disproved. "We cannot prove a priori the immateriality of the soul, but rather only so much: that all properties and actions of the soul cannot be recognized from materiality". It is from the "I", or soul, that Kant proposes transcendental rationalization, but cautions that such rationalization can only determine the limits of knowledge if it is to remain practical.[Bishop, Paul (2000). Synchronicity and Intellectual Intuition in Kant, Swedenborg, and Jung. USA: The Edwin Mellen Press. pp. 262–267]
Gilbert Ryle's ghost-in-the-machine argument, which is a rejection of Descartes' mind-body dualism can provide a contemporary understanding of the soul-mind, and the problem concerning its connection to the brain-body.-[Ryles, Gilbert (1949). The Concept of Mind]
In the ancient Egyptian religion, an individual was believed to be made up of various elements, some physical and some spiritual. Similar ideas are found in ancient Assyrian and Babylonian religion.
Shamans believe that part of the human soul is free to leave the body. The soul is the axis mundi, the center of the shamanic healing arts. Shamans change their state of consciousness allowing their free soul to travel and retrieve ancient wisdom and lost power. And as the soul is free to leave the body it will do so when dreaming. Or it will leave the body to protect itself from damaging situations either emotional or physical. If the soul doesn’t come back on its own, a shaman must intervene and return the soul essence. The reasons for soul losses are-
1. A person was in an abusive situation and the soul left to protect itself from the abuse.
2. A child might have sent his or her soul to hide while his parents were fighting.
3. The soul might jump out of the body just prior to an accident to avoid the force of the accident.
4. Someone close died and the soul left until the person is ready to deal with his or her grief.
It is to be noted that in some cases, the part of the soul will return on its own. But if it does not return, the shaman may need assist to return the missing part. One may give a part of his soul to someone he wishes to-
A mother may give some to her child because she wishes to protect him or her.
A lover may give a part of his or her soul to remain close
This type of soul exchange may create problems as your loved one has to deal with unusable energy in addition to his/her own problems. Also, the person who gave their soul has less power for daily living and may feel disconnected. Both the giver and the receiver will lose something.
If you know how a soul shares and aware of it, you can find more empowering ways of sharing love and affection. Do you not ever hear to say one- “you stole my life from me.”? Soul may steal or borrow from others. Someone Steal or Borrow a Soul because-
To be more energetic,
Afraid of losing someone
To dominate someone.
To take Revenge
It is unethical to take someones soul without his/her consent. If that happen, one may take proper action to get back that part of his soul or his soul may abuse by him. One may know he loosed his sole or not. Actually soul loss is similar to the psychological concept of disassociation. Soul loss indicated as-
Inability to move forward on some issue.
Feeling as that you are not in a control of your life.
When ones loved one died, he feels a part of him lost…as Shock is another symptom of soul loss
When one feels that something is missing from his life.
And Coma is a situation of extreme soul loss as in coma, more of the soul is out of the body then in.
A person frequently wishes to return his/her lost soul. So if the soul part was lost to a person, or in a specific place, an individual may feel an urge to return to that place or person even when there seems to be no outward reason to do so. Occasionally, a person having suicidal thoughts may be because of a desire to reunite with one’s lost soul pieces.
If anyone suspects soul loss, she/he would then journey shamanically to determine if he needs to get back his soul part or not. In most cases, you will need a healer to perform the soul retrieval for you. The healer brings the soul pieces back with him from his or her journey. The healer would then blow each piece back into the body of the client, one at time, focusing so that the soul essence fills that person’s body.
However, some ways to do this yourself include, asking for the souls return:
Putting the question to the universe.
Asking for a healing dream.
Asking your guardian angel or guardian spirits to return soul pieces to you.
It is certainly within the power of the individual to release any soul parts they may have because of soul sharing. See Below for more information about releasing parts you are holding.
Don’t overlook the importance of having someone perform a soul retrieval for you because you feel you must do it on your own. It is important to be active in one’s own healing, but an active part is generally essential once the soul is returned to you. The soul retrieval itself is very much about receiving, so whether you engage the assistance of a shamanic practitioner or not, don’t forget this essential component. The soul retrieval is done if -
The client able to make decisions in his life
The client senses of being more present in his life
The client able to overcome an issue that previously unable to do.
The client able to deal great loss in a better way.
Some healers will tell you what gifts your soul is bringing back to you. For instance, the return of your ability to have hope, or confidence in yourself. The practitioner cannot tell you in advance what will come from the soul retrieval.
In the concluding part of Soul in Samanism, we tell you what Nadya Yuguseva, a shaman from the Altai said,- "A woman has 40 souls; men have just one."-[Pope, Hugh (2006) . Sons of the conquerors: the rise of the Turkic world]
The Sanskrit words most closely corresponding to soul are jiva, Āatman and "purusha", meaning the individual self. The term "soul" is misleading as it implies an object possessed, whereas self signifies the subject which perceives all objects. This self is held to be distinct from the various mental faculties such as desires, thinking, understanding, reasoning and self-image (ego), all of which are considered to be part of prakriti (nature).
The three major schools of Hindu philosophy agree that the Aatman (individual self) is related to Brahman or the Paramatman, the Absolute Aatman or Supreme Self, but they differ in the nature of this relationship. In Advaita Vedanta the individual self and the Supreme Self are one and the same. Dvaita rejects this concept of identity, instead identifying the self as a separate but similar part of Supreme Self (God), that never loses its individual identity. Visishtadvaita takes a middle path and accepts the Aatman as a "mode" (prakara) or attribute of the Brahman. For an alternative atheistic and dualistic view of the Aatman in ancient Hindu philosophy.-[Samkhya].
The Atman becomes involved in the process of becoming and transmigrating through cycles of birth and death because of ignorance of its own true nature. The spiritual path consists of self-realization – a process in which one acquires the knowledge of the self (Brahma-jñanam) and through this knowledge applied through meditation and realization one then returns to the Source which is Brahman.
The qualities which are common to both Brahman and Aatmam are being (sat), consciousness (chit), and bliss/love (ananda). Liberation or moksha is liberation from all limiting adjuncts (upadhis) and the unification with Brahman.
Upanishad describes the Aatman in the following way: "Not inwardly cognitive, not outwardly cognitive, not both-wise cognitive, not a cognition-mass, not cognitive, not non-cognitive, unseen, with which there can be no dealing, ungraspable, having no distinctive mark, non-thinkable, that cannot be designated, the essence of the assurance of which is the state of being one with the Self, the cessation of development, tranquil, benign, without a second (a-dvaita)—[such] they think is the fourth. That is the Self. That should be discerned."-[Mandukya Upanishad, verse 7]
In Gita, Krishna describes the Aatman in the following way: "For the Aatman there is neither birth nor death at any time. He has not come into being, does not come into being, and will not come into being. He is unborn, eternal, ever –existing and primeval. He is not slain when the body is slain".-[Bhagavad Gita, 2.20]
A Vaishnava saint explains souls as: "The Atman does not take birth there, and the Aatman does not die... And because the Aatman has no birth, he therefore has no past, present or future. He is eternal, ever-existing and primeval –that is, there is no trace in history of his coming into being."-[Srila Prabhupada]
Since the quality of Aatma is primarily consciousness, all sentient and insentient beings are pervaded by Aatma, including plants, animals, humans and gods. The difference between them is the contracted or expanded state of that consciousness. For example, animals and humans share in common the desire to live, fear of death, desire to procreate and to protect their families and territory and the need for sleep, but animals' consciousness is more contracted and has less possibility to expand than does human consciousness.
When the Aatma becomes embodied it is called birth, when the Aatma leaves a body it is called death.The Aatma transmigrates from one body to another body based on karmic [performed deeds] reactions.
In Hinduism, the Sanskrit word most closely corresponding to soul is Aatma, which can mean soul or even God. It is seen as the portion of Brahman within us. Hinduism contains many variant beliefs on the origin, purpose, and fate of the Aatma. For example, advaita or non-dualistic conception of the Aatma accords it union with Brahman, the absolute uncreated (roughly, the Godhead), in eventuality or in pre-existing fact. Dvaita or dualistic concepts reject this, instead identifying the Aatma as a different and incompatible substance.
Accorsing to Sanyasi Vadiraja Swami, there are 25 coverings wrapped on our Atma 1. Iccha avarka, 2. Linga deha, 3. Avyakta Sharira, 4. Avidya Avarna, 5. Karma avarna, 6. Kama avarna, 7. Jeevacchadaka, 8. Paramacchadaka, 9. Narayana rupa avarna, 10. Vasudeva rupa Avarna, 11. Sankarshana rupa avarna, 12. Pradhyumna Avarka, 13. Anniruddha avarka, 14. Anniruddha Sharira, 15. Vasudeva Kavaca, 16. Narayana Kavaca, 17. Anandamaya kosha, 18. Vignanamaya kosha, 19. Manomaya kosha, 20. Vangmaya kosha, 21. Shrotrumaya kosha, 22. Chakshurmaya kosha, 23. Pranamaya kosha, 24. Annamaya kosha, 25. Gross Body.
In Zoroastrianism includes beliefs about the renovation of the world and individual judgment, including the resurrection of the dead. Individual judgment at death is by the Bridge of Judgment, which each human must cross, facing a spiritual judgment. Humans' actions under their free will determine the outcome. One is either greeted at the bridge by a beautiful, sweet-smelling maiden or by an ugly, foul-smelling old woman. The maiden leads the dead safely across the bridge to the Amesha Spenta Good Mind, who carries the dead to paradise. The old woman leads the dead down a bridge that narrows until the departed falls off into the abyss of hell.
Zoroastrian hell is reformative; punishments fit the crimes, and souls do not rest in eternal damnation. Hell contains foul smells and evil food, and souls are packed tightly together although they believe they are in total isolation.
In Zoroastrian eschatology, a 3,000-year struggle between good and evil will be fought, punctuated by evil's final assault. During the final assault, the sun and moon will darken and humankind will lose its reverence for religion, family, and elders. The world will fall into winter, and Angra Mainyu's most fearsome miscreant, Azi Dahaka, will break free and terrorize the world.
The final savior of the world, Saoshyant, will be born to a virgin impregnated by the seed of Zoroaster while bathing in a lake. Saoshyant will raise the dead –including those in both heaven and hell –for final judgment, returning the wicked to hell to be purged of bodily sin. Next, all will wade through a river of molten metal in which the righteous will not burn. Heavenly forces will ultimately triumph over evil, rendering it forever impotent. Saoshyant and Ahura Mazda will offer a bull as a final sacrifice for all time, and all humans will become immortal. Mountains will again flatten and valleys will rise; heaven will descend to the moon, and the earth will rise to meet them both.
Humanity requires two judgments because there are as many aspects to our being: Spiritual (menog) and physical (getig).[Cavendish, Richard; Ling,Trevor Oswald (1980), Mythology: an Illustrated Encyclopedia, Rizzoli, pp. 40–45,]
In Judaism the soul is believed to be given by God to a person as mentioned in Genesis, "And the Lord God formed man [of] the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being." -[Genesis 2:7]. According to kabbalah, underneath the throne (of God) itself lies the abode of all unborn human souls.
Judaism relates the quality of one's soul to one's performance of the commandments, mitzvot, and reaching higher levels of understanding, and thus closeness to God. A person with such closeness is called a tzadik. Therefore, Judaism embraces the commemoration of the day of one's death, nahala/Yahrtzeit and not the birthday [The only person mentioned in the Torah celebrating birthday (party) is the wicked pharaoh of Egypt Bereshith 40:20-22] as a festive of remembrance, for only toward the end of life's struggles, tests and challenges human souls could be judged and credited - b'ezrat hashem ("with God's help") -for righteousness and holiness.[HaQoton, Reb Chaim. "Happy Birthday"]
Kabbalah separates the soul into five elements, corresponding to the five worlds:
Nephesh, related to natural instinct.
Ruach, related to emotion and morality.
Neshamah, related to intellect and the awareness of God.
Chayah, considered a part of God, as it were.
Yechidah, also termed the pintele Yid . This aspect is essentially one with God.
In Jainism every living being, from a plant or a bacterium to human, has a soul and the concept forms the very basis of Jainism. The soul is basically categorized in two based on its liberation state.
Liberated Souls- These are souls which have attained (Moksha) and never become part of the life cycle again.
Non-Liberated Souls - The Souls of any living being which are stuck in the life cycle of 4 forms Manushya Gati (Human Being), Tiryanch Gati (Any other living being), Dev Gati (Heaven) and Narak Gati (Hell).
The difference between the liberated and non-liberated souls is that the qualities and attributes are exhibited completely in case of Siddhas (Siddha) as they have overcome all the karmic bondages whereas in case of non-liberated souls they are partially exhibited. And, till the time the soul is not liberated from the innumerable birth and death cycle, it gets attached to different types of above bodies based on the karma of individual soul.
According to Jainism, there is no beginning and end to the existence of soul. It is eternal in nature and changes its form till it attains (Moksha) Irrespective of which state the soul is in, it has got the same attributes and qualities. Virchand Gandhi quoted- "the soul lives its own life, not for the purpose of the body, but the body lives for the purpose of the soul. If we believe that the soul is to be controlled by the body then soul misses its power".-[Forgotten Gandhi, Virchand Gandhi, 864-1901]
In Chinese traditions, every person has two types of soul called Hun and Po, which are respectively yang and yin. Taoism believed in ten souls, sanhunqipo "three Hun and seven Po".[Encyclopedia of Death and Dying (2008)] The Pò is linked to the dead body and the grave, whereas the Hún is linked to the ancestral tablet. A living being that loses any of them is said to have mental illness or unconsciousness, while a dead soul may reincarnate to a disability, lower desire realms or may even be unable to reincarnate.
It teaches that all things are in a constant state of flux: all is changing, and no permanent state exists by itself.-[Walpola Rahula, What the Buddha Taught]. This applies to human beings as much as to anything else in the cosmos. Thus, a human being has no permanent self. According to this doctrine of Anatta (Pāli; Sanskrit: Anātman) – "no-self" or "no soul" – the words "I" or "me" do not refer to any fixed thing. They are simply convenient terms that allow us to refer to an ever-changing entity.
The Anatta doctrine is not a kind of materialism. Buddhism does not deny the existence of "immaterial" entities, and it (at least traditionally) distinguishes bodily states from mental states. Thus, the conventional translation of Anatta as "no-soul" can be confusing. If the word "soul" simply refers to an incorporeal component in living things that can continue after death, then Buddhism does not deny the existence of the soul. Instead, Buddhism denies the existence of a permanent entity that remains constant behind the changing corporeal and incorporeal components of a living being. Just as the body changes from moment to moment, so thoughts come and go. And there is no permanent state underlying the mind that experiences these thoughts, as in Cartesianism. Conscious mental states simply arise and perish with no "thinker" behind them. When the body dies, Buddhists believe the incorporeal mental processes continue and are reborn in a new body. Because the mental processes are constantly changing, the being that is reborn is neither entirely different from, nor exactly the same as, the being that died. However, the new being is continuous with the being that died –in the same way that the "you" of this moment is continuous with the "you" of a moment before, despite the fact that you are constantly changing.
Buddhist teaching holds that a notion of a permanent, abiding self is a delusion that is one of the causes of human conflict on the emotional, social, and political levels.-[Conze, Edward (1993). A Short History of Buddhism. One world. p. 14] They add that an understanding of Anatta provides an accurate description of the human condition, and that this understanding allows us to pacify our mundane desires.
Schools of Buddhism have differing ideas about what continues after death. The Yogacara school in Mahayana Buddhism said there are store consciousness which continue to exist after death. In some schools, particularly Tibetan Buddhism, the view is that there are three minds: very subtle mind, which does not disintegrate in death; subtle mind, which disintegrates in death and which is "dreaming mind" or "unconscious mind"; and gross mind, which does not exist when one is sleeping. Therefore, gross mind less permanent than subtle mind, which does not exist in death. Very subtle mind, however, does continue, and when it "catches on", or coincides with phenomena, again, a new subtle mind emerges, with its own personality/assumptions/habits, and that entity experiences karma in the current continuum.
Plants were said to be non-sentient but Buddhist monks are required to not cut or burn trees, because some sentient beings rely on them. Some Mahayana monks said non-sentient beings such as plants and stones have Buddha-nature.
Certain modern Buddhists, particularly in Western countries, reject—or at least take an agnostic stance toward the concept of rebirth or reincarnation, which they view as incompatible with the concept of Anatta. Stephen Batchelor discusses this issue in his book Buddhism Without Beliefs. Others point to research that has been conducted at the University of Virginia's proof that some people are reborn. -[B. Alan Wallace, Contemplative Science. 2007, p. 13]
Most Christians understand the soul as an ontological reality distinct from, yet integrally connected with, the body. Its characteristics are described in moral, spiritual, and philosophical terms. Richard Swinburne, a Christian philosopher, wrote that "it is a frequent criticism of substance dualism that dualists cannot say what souls are. Souls are immaterial subjects of mental properties. They have sensations and thoughts, desires and beliefs, and perform intentional actions. Souls are essential parts of human beings". According to a common Christian eschatology, when people die, their souls will be judged by God and determined to go to Heaven or to Hell. Though all branches of Christianity – Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Evangelical and mainline Protestants teach that Jesus Christ plays a decisive role in the Christian salvation process, the specifics of that role and the part played by individual persons or ecclesiastical rituals and relationships, is a matter of wide diversity in official church teaching, theological speculation and popular practice.
Some Christians believe that if one has not repented of one's sins and has not trusted in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, he will go to Hell and suffer eternal damnation or eternal separation from God. Some hold a belief that babies (including the unborn) and those with cognitive or mental impairments who have died will be received into Heaven on the basis of God's grace through the sacrifice of Jesus. Other Christians understand the soul as the life, and believe that the dead are sleeping (Christian conditionalism). This belief is traditionally accompanied by the belief that the unrighteous soul will cease to exist instead of suffering eternally. Believers will inherit eternal life either in Heaven, or in a Kingdom of God on earth, and enjoy eternal fellowship with God. Though there are also beliefs in universal salvation.
According to creationism, each individual soul is created directly by God, either at the moment of conception or some later time. According to traducianism, the soul comes from the parents by natural generation. According to the preexistence theory, the soul exists before the moment of conception. There have been differing thoughts regarding whether human embryos have souls from conception, or there is a point between conception and birth where the fetus acquires a soul, consciousness, and/or personhood. Stances in this question might more or less influence judgements on the morality of abortion.-[Matthew Syed (2008). "Embryos have souls? What nonsense". The Times. Retrieved 13 November 2011]
The present Catechism of the Catholic Church defines the soul as "the innermost aspect of humans, that which is of greatest value in them, that by which they are in God's image described as 'soul' signifies the spiritual principle in man". All souls living and dead will be judged by Jesus Christ when he comes back to earth. The Catholic Church teaches that the existence of each individual soul is dependent wholly upon God: "The doctrine of the faith affirms that the spiritual and immortal soul is created immediately by God."-["Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 363". Vatican. Retrieved 13 November 2011]
Protestants generally believe in the soul's existence, but fall into two major camps about what this means in terms of an afterlife. Some, following Calvin,-[Paul Helm, John Calvin's Ideas 2006 p.129 "The Immortality of the Soul: As we saw when discussing Calvin's Christology, Calvin is a substance dualist."] believe in the immortality of the soul and conscious existence after death, while others, following Luther,-[Anthony Grafton, Glenn W. Most, Salvatore Settis, The Classical Tradition 2010 p 480 "On several occasions, Luther mentioned contemptuously that the Council Fathers had decreed the soul immortal."] believe in the mortality of the soul and unconscious "sleep" until the resurrection of the dead.-[Richard Marius Martin Luther: the Christian between God and death 1999 p 429] Various new religious movements derived from Adventism—including Christadelphians,-[Birmingham Amended Statement of Faith. Available online] Seventh-day Adventists and Jehovah's Witnesses-["Do You Have an Immortal Soul?". The Watchtower: 3–5. July 15, 2007] —similarly believe that the dead do not possess a soul separate to the body and are unconscious until the resurrection.
Islam teaches that the soul is immortal and eternal. Before the creation of Adam, the 1st man, God said to the angel- "So, when I have made him and have breathed into him of My Spirit, do ye fall down, prostrating yourselves unto him."-[Qur'an 7:172].
All souls were created at a time before sending Adam-Eve in this world. "And when your Lord brought forth from the children of Adam, from their backs, their descendants, and made them bear witness against their own souls: Am I not your Lord? They said: Yes! we bear witness.".[Qur'an 7:172].
After death, the souls separated from the body taken by the angel of death and preserved in illiyin or sijjin. If the soul is righteous, when it will taken, the angel will say-, "O reassured soul, Come back thou to thy Lord,- well pleased (thyself), and well-pleasing unto Him!"-[Qur'an 89:27-28] and his records (Amalnama) then preserved in illiyin, verily the record of the Righteous is (preserved) in 'Illiyin.-[Qur'an 83:18-19] and when the wrong-doers reach the pangs of death and the angels stretch their hands out (saying): Deliver up your souls. This day ye are awarded doom of degradation for that ye spake concerning Allah other than the truth, and used to scorn His portents.-[Qur'an 6:93] his recodrs preserved in sijjin. Surely the record of the wicked is (preserved) in Sijjin.-[Qur'an 83:7-8]
The records of a person preserved in illiyin or sijjin according to the deeds of the person, but his souls to be preserved there too, not mentioned by the Quran. Though ibn Kathir says- Sijjin is "a place to go back and stay bad people", and Illiyin is "back where good people". Sijjin is the seventh of the earth, in which there is the spirit of the infidels ', then Illiyyin is seventh heaven topped with the spirit of the believers'.-[Tafsir Ibn Kathir]
On the other hand, in the Book of Chamois, it is said that Azrael, the angle of death explain his duty to Solomon, the son of David and said - "As often as a believer dies, Gabriel attends me, and wraps his soul in a green silken sheet, and then breathes it into a green bird, which feeds in Paradise until the day of the resurrection. But the soul of the sinner I take alone, and having wrapped it in a coarse, pitch-covered woolen cloth, carry it to the gates of hell, where it wanders among abominable vapors until the last day." -[Book of Chamois, by Husayn ibn Mahmud]
What a person does is recorded and will be judged at the final court of God. They will either go to heaven or hell, depending on whether or not they did well in the test that was given to them in this world by Allah. The Qur'an mentions the soul:
And they ask you, about the soul (Rûh). Say, "The soul (Rûh) is of the affair of my Lord. And mankind have not been given of knowledge except a little." - [Qur'an 17:85]
It is Allah that takes the souls at death: and those that die not (He takes their souls) during their sleep: then those on whom He has passed the Decree of death He keeps back (their souls from returning to their bodies); but the rest He sends (their souls back to their bodies) for a term appointed. Verily in this are Signs for those who contemplate. -[Qur'an 39:42]
It teaches that the spirit and body together constitute the Soul of Man (Mankind). "The spirit and the body are the soul of man."[Doctrine and Covenants of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints] Mormons believe that the soul is the union of a pre-existing, God-made spirit-[Moses 6:51; Hebrews 12:9] and a temporal body, which is formed by physical conception on earth. After death, the spirit continues to live and progress in the Spirit world until the resurrection, when it is reunited with the body that once housed it. This reuniting of body and spirit results in a perfect soul that is immortal and eternal and capable of receiving a fulness of joy.[Book of Mormon. Alma: 5:15; 11:43–45; 40:23; 41:2]
Mormon cosmology also describes "intelligences" as the essence of consciousness or agency. These are co-eternal with God, and animate the spirits.-[Doctrine and Covenants 93:29-30] The union of a newly created spirit body with an eternally-existing intelligence constitutes a "spirit birth" and justifies God's title "Father of our spirits".["Spirit". Guide to the Scriptures]
It affirms that "the soul is a sign of God, a heavenly gem whose reality the most learned of men hath failed to grasp, and whose mystery no mind, however acute, can ever hope to unravel".[Bahá'u'lláh (1976). Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh] Bahá'u'lláh wrote, "Know thou, of a truth, that if the soul of man hath walked in the ways of God, it will, assuredly return and be gathered to the glory of the Beloved."-[Bahá'u'lláh (1976). Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh. p. 157]
Bahá'u'lláh stated that the soul not only continues to live after the physical death of the human body, but is, in fact, immortal. Heaven can be seen partly as the soul's state of nearness to God; and hell as a state of remoteness from God. Each state follows as a natural consequence of individual efforts, or the lack thereof, to develop spiritually. Bahá'u'lláh taught that individuals have no existence prior to their life here on earth and the soul's evolution is always towards God and away from the material world.-[Taherzadeh, Adib (1976). The Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh, Volume-1]
It considers Soul (atma) to be part of God (Waheguru). Various hymns are cited from the holy book "Sri Guru Granth Sahib" that suggests this belief. "God is in the Soul and the Soul is in the God."-[SGGS, M 1, p 1153.]
The "Atma" or "Soul" according to Sikhism is an entity or "spiritual spark" or "light" in our body because of which the body can sustain life. On the departure of this entity from the body, the body becomes lifeless – No amount of manipulations to the body can make the person make any physical actions. The soul is the ‘driver’ in the body. It is the ‘roohu’ or spirit or atma, the presence of which makes the physical body alive.
According to Theosophy, the soul is the field of our psychological activity (thinking, emotions, memory, desires, will, and so on) as well as of the so-called paranormal or psychic phenomena (extrasensory perception, out-of-body experiences, etc.). However, the soul is not the highest, but a middle dimension of human beings. Higher than the soul is the spirit, which is considered to be the real self; the source of everything we call "good"—happiness, wisdom, love, compassion, harmony, peace, etc. While the spirit is eternal and incorruptible, the soul is not. The soul acts as a link between the material body and the spiritual self, and therefore shares some characteristics of both. The soul can be attracted either towards the spiritual or towards the material realm, being thus the "battlefield" of good and evil. It is only when the soul is attracted towards the spiritual and merges with the Self that it becomes eternal and divine.
Rudolf Steiner differentiated three stages of soul development, which interpenetrate one another in consciousness.-[Creeger, Rudolf Steiner; translated by Catherine E. (1994). Theosophy : an introduction to the spiritual processes in human life and in the cosmos. Hudson, pp. 42–46.]
The "sentient soul", centering on sensations, drives, and passions, with strong conative (will) and emotional components;
The "intellectual" or "mind soul", internalizing and reflecting on outer experience, with strong affective (feeling) and cognitive (thinking) components; and
The "consciousness soul", in search of universal, objective truths.
The findings of science may be relevant to one's understanding of the soul depending on one's belief regarding the relationship between the soul and the mind. Another may be one's belief regarding the relationship between the soul and the body.-[The final science; or Spiritual materialism by John Henry Wilbrandt Stuckenberg 1885 p. 14] One problem with seeking scientific evidence for the soul is that there is no clear or unique definition of what the soul is, as it usually varies from one belief to another.
Neuroscience as an interdisciplinary field, and its branch of cognitive neuroscience particularly, operates under the ontological assumption of physicalism. In other words, it assumes—in order to perform its science—that only the fundamental phenomena studied by physics exist. Thus, neuroscience seeks to understand mental phenomena within the framework according to which human thought and behavior are caused solely by physical processes taking place inside the brain, and it operates by the way of reduction by seeking an explanation for the mind in terms of brain activity.[O. Carter Snead. "Cognitive Neuroscience and the Future of Punishment]
To study the mind in terms of the brain several methods of functional neuroimaging are used to study the neuroanatomical correlates of various cognitive processes that constitute the mind. The evidence from brain imaging indicates that all processes of the mind have physical correlates in brain function.-[Andrea Eugenio Cavanna, Andrea Nani, Hal Blumenfeld, Steven Laureys. "Neuroimaging of Consciousness" (2013).]
However, such correlational studies cannot determine whether neural activity plays a causal role in the occurrence of these cognitive processes (correlation does not imply causation) and they cannot determine if the neural activity is either necessary or sufficient for such processes to occur. Identification of causation, and of necessary and sufficient conditions requires explicit experimental manipulation of that activity. If manipulation of brain activity changes consciousness, then a causal role for that brain activity can be inferred.-[Farah, Martha J.; Murphy, Nancey (2009). "Neuroscience and the Soul". Science 323 (5918): Retrieved 20 November 2012]
Two of the most common types of manipulation experiments are loss-of-function and gain-of-function experiments. In a loss-of-function (also called "necessity") experiment, a part of the nervous system is diminished or removed in an attempt to determine if it is necessary for a certain process to occur, and in a gain-of-function (also called "sufficiency") experiment, an aspect of the nervous system is increased relative to normal.-[Matt Carter, Jennifer C. Shieh. "Guide to Research Techniques in Neuroscience" (2009)]
Manipulations of brain activity can be performed with direct electrical brain stimulation, magnetic brain stimulation using transcranial magnetic stimulation, psychopharma-cological manipulation, optogenetic manipulation and by studying the symptoms of brain damage (case studies) and lesions. In addition, neuroscientists are also investigating how the mind develops with the development of the brain.-[Squire, L. et al. "Fundamental Neuroscience, 4th edition" (2012). Chapter 43]
Physicist Sean M. Carroll has written that the idea of a soul is in opposition to quantum field theory (QFT). He writes that for a soul to exist "Not only is new physics required, but dramatically new physics. Within QFT, there can’t be a new collection of 'spirit particles' and 'spirit forces' that interact with our regular atoms, because we would have detected them in existing experiments."-[Carroll, Sean M.. (2011). "Physics and the Immortality of the Soul". Scientific American. Retrieved 2014-10-11]
In contrast, Philosopher Hans Halvorson at Princeton University has highlighted a conceptual difficulty in making quantum mechanics logically consistent. Called the Measurement problem, there is a logical problem in explaining how an observation collapses the wave function to obtain a determinate result. Quantum mechanics posits a superposition as the normal state of matter. A material brain should also be in an indeterminate state much like Schrödinger's Cat, but despite this we obtain a determinate result when we observe quantum phenomena. He argues that this logically necessitates something very like an immaterial soul that can make the observation and obtain a determinate result.-[Clarke, Peter. (2014). Neuroscience, Quantum Indeterminism and the Cartesian Soul. Brain and cognition 84: 109-117.] This general problem was first pointed out by physicist Eugene Wigner, who thought wave function collapse occurred due to the activities of mind. Theoretical physicist Roger Penrose and others have developed a similar outlook, see Quantum mind.
Quantum indeterminism has been invoked by some theorists as a solution to the problem of how a soul might interact with the brain but neuroscientist Peter Clarke found errors with this viewpoint noting there is no evidence that such processes play a role in brain function and concluded that a Cartesian soul has no basis from quantum physics.-[Barrette, Cyrille; Saint-Arnaud, Jean-Guy (2013). Lettres Ouvertes Correspondance entre un athée et un croyant. Canada. p. 130]
Biologist Cyrille Barrette (fr) has written that "the soul is a word to designate an idea we invented to represent the sensation of being inhabited by an existence, by a conscience".[Barrette, Cyrille. "La Science et l'âme" Cyrille Barrette. Retrieved 30 January 2016] Barrette explains, using simple examples in a short self-published article, that the soul is a property emerging from the complex organisation of matter in the brain.-[Milbourne Christopher. (1979). Search for the Soul: An Insider's Report on the Continuing Quest by Psychics and Scientists for Evidence of Life After Death. Thomas Y. Crowell]
Some parapsychologists have attempted to establish, by scientific experiment, whether a soul separate from the brain exists, as is more commonly defined in religion rather than as a synonym of psyche or mind. Milbourne Christopher (1979) and Mary Roach (2010) have argued that none of the attempts by parapsychologists have yet succeeded.-[Mary Roach. (2010). Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife.]
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